Nostalgia and Needlepointing: The Rise of Grandmillennial Style
posted on September 16, 2020 | by Heather Bien
When anxieties are running high, some of us turn to comfort food, favorite movies from childhood, or increasingly frequent visits home. We’re all looking for that return to the good old days, when things were carefree and easy.
For some people that’s translated into a way of life: the grandmillennial life.
What’s a grandmillennial?, you may be wondering. It’s a term for those twenty and thirty-somethings who are saying goodbye to modern and minimalist and are, instead, embracing all things vintage, floral, and collected. From their clothing to their hobbies to, most of all, their home decor, these millennials are embracing the style and sophistication of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations.
Let’s back up for a second. Us millennials have gotten a little bit of a reputation among other generations for our, ahem, specific design and lifestyles tastes. We welcomed mid-century with open arms. We dove headfirst into plant parenthood. We never met a neon sign we didn’t like. But, we’ve also been purveyors of a somewhat disposable aesthetic at times, where fashion choices and home accents are rotated out each time a new hashtag trends on Instagram.
The grandmillennials, however, stand in opposition to all things trending. Instead, they find a sense of comfort by making all that’s old, new again. They adopt the motifs they once saw in their grandmothers’ homes, placing a focus on creating a collected, lived-in space, and turning their attention to the timeless, but through a fresh, youthful lens. Ginger jars, pleated lampshades, bed skirts, trellis woodwork, and Staffordshire dogs are at home in their apartments right next to vibrant colors and bold patterns. Most of all, they know that grandma’s style wasn’t outdated at all. Her insistence on a swipe of lipstick and always writing the perfect thank you note was a lesson we can all learn from.
So, how exactly do you bring a bit of grandmillennial into your own aesthetic? Here’s how you can weave this nod to nostalgia into everything from your home to your hobbies.
This is the big one with grandmillennials. From a well-placed monogram on a perfectly set table to a bold floral chintz splashed liberally throughout a room to accents of wicker, the grandmillennial is a big fan of all those design elements you thought had been laid to rest several generations ago. They make a beeline for blue and white at every antique store and are pumped they scored an entire silver tea set for a song on consignment. If there’s an estate sale, they’re there stocking up on centuries-old wood furniture and embroidered accent pillows. Just don’t try to sneak in a doily –– those have stayed firmly in the fifties.
Love scouring vintage shops and Etsy for brooches, silk scarves, and sensible designer pumps worn without a hint of irony? You’ll be right at home among the grandmillennials. They look to walk that line between tailored elegance and old-fashioned charm. The grandmillennials know there was something to be said for the sartorial era before fast fashion existed. And, personally, I’ve embraced this by taking to grandma-chic St. John cardigans found at my neighborhood consignment store and rhinestone costume jewelry straight from my grandmother’s collection.
While the grandmillennial loves a quiet evening at home with a cup of tea and their latest needlepoint project, preferably one from the cheeky Lycette Designs, they’re also an expert hostess. They’ll whip out the crystal candlesticks and the good china, even if all they’re serving is takeout pizza. They embrace the idea of slowing down, turning off Netflix, and simply enjoying the company of one another.
So, if you’ve had it with desert-tone neutrals, concrete vases, and macrame, if you’d prefer to never set foot in a fast fashion circus again, and if you just want to turn your phone off for a little while, join us over on the grandmillennial side. It’s like taking a step back in time just as we need a little bit of comfort from generations past.
Featured image by Caroline Campbell